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Keith Thurman picks Porter to beat Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia Keith Thurman Shawn Porter Garcia vs. Porter

By Dan Ambrose: Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will be fighting for Keith Thurman’s vacated WBC welterweight strap his Saturday night on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Thurman has wins over both fighters, but he appeared to have more problems in defeating Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) two years ago in winning a 12 round unanimous decision on June 25, 2016.

Last year, Thurman defeated Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision to hand him his first career loss in March 2017. Garcia and his father Angel Garcia insisted that they deserved he victory, but two of the judges felt that Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) was the better fighter on the night.

With the top welterweights failing to face each other, Garcia vs. Porter is the best that can be hoped for right now. Amir Khan could face Manny Pacquiao later this year. If that fight comes off, it will likely eclipse the fan interest from the Garcia-Porter fight. The fight that many boxing fans want to see is IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. against WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith Thurman and WBO champion Terence Crawford. Those fights are not going to happen though. Thurman is now looking like he won’t fight at all in 2018 and it’s unclear when he was get back into the ring.

“This is one of the best matchups of the year. I try not to overthink it. It’s Porter by decision or Garcia only by KO. I lean toward PORTER,” Thurman said to Showtime Boxing.

It’s not all that surprising that Thurman is picking Porter, 30, to beat Garcia. Thurman had loads of trouble beating Porter two years ago by a close 12 round decision. Thurman was moving around the ring most of the fight to keep Porter off of him. Thurman did a good job of catching Porter with left hooks when he was chasing him. However, Porter was still able to land a lot of shots, especially when Thurman invited him in to fight in close against the ropes. If the two fought each other now, Porter might win because he’s been active and not injured like Thurman.

A loss for Garcia would be a big disappointment for him because he’s counting on beating Porter and then using the WBC title to get bigger fights. If Garcia loses to Porter, it would be his second loss in his last three fights. Garcia recently beat past his best Brandon Rios by a 9th round knockout last February to bounce back from his loss to Thurman. What was interesting is that Garcia chose to face Rios rather than IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. He had offered Garcia a title shot against him. Garcia chose to take a non-title fight against over-the-hill Rios rather than fighting for a world title against Spence. It would have been really difficult for Garcia to face someone like Spence, because he would have a lot of size and punching power to make him think twice about mixing it up with him. Garcia wouldn’t have the reach to box Spence.

“Shawn is clearly the more physical fighter,” Thurman said. ”Danny can punch with both hands. He does load up, so you can’t be right there in front of him. With Danny, I’ve never seen anyone so willing to just stare at me without throwing a punch. He’s committed to being second, a pure counterpuncher,” Thurman said.

Garcia got Thurman’s attention in the 6th round when he landed a hard left hook to the head. After that punch, Thurman went into the defensive mode and spent the last six rounds on the run, letting Garcia back into the fight. There’s a lot of rabbit in Thurman. It comes out whenever he gets hit hard. He doesn’t like to stand and trade with anyone, especially guys that can bang a little like Garcia. Porter is a different type of fighter though. When Porter gets hit hard, he just keeps coming forward looking to pay his opponents back.

Porter is the worst kind of opponent for Garcia, because he’s not going to be scared off easily the way that Thurman was last year. Porter is going to walk Garcia down, nail him with constant hard blows and force him to fight back. Garcia doesn’t like those types of fights. Mauricio Herrera, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero and a Brandon Rios put massive pressure on Garcia and gave a lot of problems. Peterson, Guerrero and Herrera came close to beating Garcia, which shows you what level he’s at as a fighter. Garcia is a good fighter, but he’s not the elite level at 147 in the class of Thurman, Spence and Terence Crawford. I suspect that Garcia is going to get found out by Porter and beaten for the second time in his career. Some boxing fans would say that Garcia will get beaten for the third time, because Herrera did a good job against him in their fight in 2014. Garcia won the fight by a 12 round majority decision, but it looked like he should have lost that fight.

“Shawn is faster and a little more athletic. He’ll triple on the jab to get inside and use stutter-steps. Danny’s real relaxed, but that doesn’t necessarily come through in his hand speed,” Thurman said. ”Danny’s a counterpuncher, and Shawn outworks you. Danny has nice boxing movement when he wants to be evasive.”

Porter has the speed advantage over Garcia, and he’s the far better inside fighter. If Porter can take the fight to the inside, he’s going to give Garcia tremendous problems in the same way that Peterson did. Garcia will need to use his feet if he wants to keep Porter off of him. Garcia won’t stand a chance against Porter if he’s able to take the fight to the inside and work him. Garcia doesn’t move well enough though to keep someone as fleet of foot as Porter off of him. Garcia’s only real chance of getting Porter off of him on the inside is if he hits him with low blows and shoves him continually like he did against Lucas Matthysse. Porter isn’t the type that will put up with getting hit with low blows all night the way Matthysse did. Garcia might find himself in a battle he can’t win if he starts fouling Porter. It would be better for Garcia to keep it clean, but if things going to pieces for him, he might start fouling like he did against Matthysse.

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